Sending Love and Support for Friends and Family of Mary Florence MacDonald.
It is with deep sadness, fond reflections, and heavy hearts that all of us at Atlantis (Association of Artist-Run Centres from the Atlantic) acknowledge the passing of Mary Florence MacDonald, a lively, talented, influential and dedicated member of our community, and most recently, our Flotilla curatorial team.
Mary was deeply committed to overcoming the barriers between art professionals and all surrounding communities, seeing them as interlocking and more akin than separate. She valued all levels of partnerships, especially day-to-day, unexpected interactions with people and places that she encountered, which always resulted in creating stronger and long-lasting bonds between all people involved. Mary was incredibly receptive to all immediate happenings, yet solidly thoughtful and steadfast in her morals, supporting all her friends, community members, artists and partners. She was brilliantly funny, witty, kind-hearted, fearless and spontaneous. She had a rare ability to bridge people together from completely separate walks of life, without judgement or incentives, purely through a genuine interest and belief that through collaboration and respect, communities can bond and strengthen. Both her curatorial practice and her life were dedicated to this.
Mary’s curatorial work was acutely in tune with work that brought together a vast spectrum of experiences, through which she found a way to integrate into cutting-edge programming initiatives in many situations: through her role as Director of Eastern Edge artist-run centre in St. John’s, NL, her graduate studies at OCAD, founding Girls Rock Camps, independant projects—the W(here) festival in Pictou, NS—and most recently her involvement with Flotilla as an editor, advisor, and member of our curatorial team.
Mary contributed a great deal to the writing of our major grants, the creative visioning, curatorial framework, and most of all, the core mindset of the flotilla concept. From the bottom of our hearts we would like to extend our endless gratitude for having the tremendous opportunity to work with you Mary. We will miss you dearly, and are so thankful for all of the talented artists, curators, friends and family you have introduced us to throughout your life. We will continue to be inspired and can’t wait to share with everyone the amazing work you have played such an essential role in this fall.
Thank you for your respect and partnership,
Atlantis and Flotilla Katie Belcher & Sally Raab, Co-Presidents, on behalf of Atlantis
Becka Viau, on behalf of Flotilla’s core team, Michael McCormack, on behalf of the Flotilla curatorial team.
“Respect and partnership are necessities for survival”
– Mary Florence MacDonald, during a 2013 TEDtalk.
“Mary was and will continue to be a bright light in the contemporary artist-led scene on the East Coast. Her positivity, dedication and thoughtful work were an inspiration to me. She will be deeply missed, and I look forward to bringing Flotilla to life in September, as her vision helped to craft this game changing event. I am so very honoured to have had the privilege of working with Mary.”
– Becka Viau, Project Manager, Flotilla, 2017.
“Mary’s dedication to the region, joyful approach, commitment to artistic rigour, and generous care for the greater community, are to be admired, and remembered. My deepest condolences go to Mary’s family, friends, and colleagues. This is a loss keenly felt by all who were lucky to know her.”
– Katie Belcher, Artistic Director, Eyelevel and Co-President of the Board of Atlantis, 2017
“Mary shaped the gallery with a heart that included everyone, reinforced the arts community, and extended our reach far beyond”
– Philippa Jones, Director, Eastern Edge, 2017.
Mary MacDonald’s TED Talk:
Published on 20 Apr 2013
Art Out W(here)?: Mary MacDonald at TEDxFortTownshend 2013
Mary Florence MacDonald Obituary:
A foundation has been set up in Mary’s honour to support independent curatorial projects:
You can find out more here: